Richard McGuire, the man who camped on Disney World’s Discovery Island, has been fined $100 and banned from the park for life. Back in April of this year, McGuire decided to take a boat to the island, which was shut down in 1999. He filmed his adventure and put it up on YouTube. Discovery Island was another part of the Walt Disney World theme park decades ago that specialized in wildlife and fauna. However, Disney suddenly decided to close it down in 1999 and abandoned it.
For over 20 years, people have trespassed on what used to be Discovery Island and uploaded videos to YouTube and social media. However, Richard McGuire, originally from Mobile, Alabama, wanted to one-up everyone and camp there. This all happened during the height of the public health crisis, so the main park was shut down at the same time, along with just about everything else in the surrounding area. McGuire saw this as the perfect time to take a boat there and camp.
After Orange County, Florida law enforcement were tipped off that someone was camping on Discovery Island, they started a rather intense manhunt, which involved helicopters and officers with guns drawn. Richard McGuire was able to evade them and claims that he never heard the officers trying to locate him. He was later arrested on April 30th and immediately banned from Walt Disney World for life. As for new court findings, the case is closed, so McGuire will pay the $100 fine, along with assorted booking and court fees.
When Richard McGuire was arrested, he referred to Discovery Island as a “tropical paradise.” After officers tried finding him in what one officer called, “the greatest game of hide and seek ever,” McGuire was only found as he attempted to bring his boat back to the mainland. “Did you go camping?,” asked one deputy. “Yeah,” McGuire responded. “That’s a tropical paradise. I was going to stay out there for about a week.” Footage from the island over the years proves that it is no tropical paradise. It is an abandoned island where nature has slowly taken over and destroyed what Disney had built there decades ago.
Richard McGuire says he is happy that he was able to take his daughter to Walt Disney World one time before receiving his lifetime ban. As for whether or not he’ll attempt to camp on Discovery Island again, that is unclear, but he still seems enamored with it. “Who wouldn’t want to go and have it all to themselves?” he asked. With Walt Disney World back up and running, it will more than likely be a lot more difficult to get back on Discovery Island, at least for the time being. Click Orlando was the first to report on Richard McGuire’s case being closed. You can check out law enforcement footage of the manhunt below.